Ninth Grade at Calvary Day High School

The ninth grade at Calvary Day School is an exciting time of transition and growth for our students. A freshman at Calvary may play a varsity sport, join the yearbook staff, become a member of the student council, or wow audiences with leading roles in plays and musicals throughout the year. As the countdown to college begins, ninth graders have more opportunities than ever before to excel in areas about which they are passionate.

Ninth graders begin their transition to high school by attending rising freshmen orientation, and the support offered to students doesn’t stop there. The Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Mell, meets with the ninth graders at key points throughout the school year to encourage them on the path to personal success. Ninth graders learn how college admissions works, and they are encouraged to choose classes, activities, and service projects with purpose. Students take the PSAT and the Stanford 10 achievement test during ninth grade and open a gacollege411 online account to begin investigating colleges, careers, scholarships, and financial aid.

The ninth grade curriculum at Calvary is comprised of classes geared toward laying the groundwork for higher-level thinking. Building on the skills developed in Middle School, ninth graders often find that their classes are challenging them to become comfortable working in areas that push them to their intellectual limits.

For the first time, ninth graders participate in many exciting High School traditions, such as Class Games during Homecoming Week. A ninth grade student at Calvary is given the tools to begin his or her quest for success, and all of the faculty and staff are dedicated to helping each student grow as Christ grew in Luke 2:52.

English Composition and Literature 9 (also offered at the honors and Pre-AP level)

The High School English Department at Calvary Day School fosters critical thinking and effective communication through appreciation for literature. Students continually read and analyze works of poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and drama from various literary periods. Grammatical lessons and vocabulary building activities are also ongoing components of each course. Students develop sound oral communication skills through lively class discussions and assigned presentations. Written communication skills are honed through critical analysis of texts, major research assignments, persuasive essays, creative writing, and journal writing. Reading comprehension and writing for multiple contexts are fine-tuned through constant exposure to a myriad of writing styles. Students are introduced to close reading, and they work with supplementary texts to enhance their understanding of literature. Units of study include sections on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, as well as an introduction to critical lenses. Ninth grade students study literature such as Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet, Their Eyes Were Watching God (honors and Pre-AP), A Raisin in the Sun (Pre-AP), The Poisonwood Bible (Pre-AP), The Old Man and the Sea (college prep and honors), and American Born Chinese (college prep and honors).

Algebra I

Algebra I is designed to increase the student’s ability to think algebraically and to apply the resulting ideas to practical situations. Students use the order of operations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as a springboard into higher mathematical operations. Major topics also include solving equations, solving systems of linear equations, graphing linear equations and inequalities, and factoring. This class incorporates areas of problem solving, reasoning, and communication of mathematical concepts. Students learn to assimilate concepts while discovering unknown information.

Honors Geometry

Honors Geometry at Calvary Day School emphasizes an understanding of the topics discussed in euclidean geometry. Students learn to understand geometry’s importance as they gain logical thinking skills from this branch of mathematics. This course aims to develop students’ visualization skills and inductive and deductive reasoning through the study of logic and proof, polygons, trigonometry, circles and perimeter, and area and volume.

Biology I (also offered at honors level)

Biology is the study of living things. In the Biology I course, students learn about plant and animal cells, cellular processes, genetics and inheritance, organismal classification, invertebrates, vertebrates, ecology, and environmental conservation. Additionally, there is a laboratory component where students are expected to demonstrate appropriate laboratory skills and safety procedures while completing dissections and using microscopes. Honors Biology I students also participate in a signature assignment that includes genetics research and laboratory investigation.

Ancient World History (also offered at the honors level)

Ancient World History is designed to present students with broad historical themes from the beginning of agriculture to the year 1450 that provide meaning for events in the past and show how they affect contemporary life. Major focus is placed on the development of civilization and societies as well as human thought. Explored regions include Sumer and Babylon, Egypt and Israel, Greece, India, China, Japan, ancient Rome and Byzantium, and the Americas. The study of ancient peoples and cultures is further enhanced through the historical exploration of religious beliefs, which includes the study of relevant passages and books of the Bible. Understanding the adventures of humankind throughout the centuries gives students the opportunity to learn about the past and recognize its contribution to the present and to the future. This course assists students in mastering the fundamentals of history and imparts a context from which to analyze current events. The course is designed as the beginning of the full history curriculum at Calvary with the Modern Era portion to be completed in 10th grade.

Old Testament Survey or Exploring God’s Word

High school Bible courses at Calvary Day School are designed to help students think, act, speak, and live in conformity with the standards and expectations of our Creator. Students are taught truths and principles from God’s Word and are encouraged to develop a relationship with God. In an effort to help students to discover the abundant life that God promises, classes emphasize the practical application of biblical principles to daily life. In addition to participation in traditional lectures and discussions, students create biblical timelines, write reader-response journal entries, watch films that enhance class materials, and display the results of pertinent research in oral presentations. Students also serve the community through a community service project for 10 hours during each of the nine weeks that they are in this course. Through constant exposure to a Christian worldview, students are enabled to emerge from Calvary as positive, godly individuals who minister to the world around them.

Old Testament Survey is a survey of the books, stories, and persons of the Old Testament. Particular interest is given to people in the Old Testament who exemplified godly character – why that person’s character was important and ways that students can grow that characteristic within their own lives. As followers of Christ, it is vitally important for us to have a useful knowledge of the Scripture we hold dear. The mission and faithfulness of God is something that has been going on for a long time, and the story of the people of God within the Old Testament is a vital part of that mission and story. It is also important for students to realize how ancient stories still speak into our current situation in the world of the 21st century.

Exploring God’s Word is more free-form in the sense that students study books of the Bible and books about subjects in the Bible which are of particular interest to the teacher and the students. The purpose of this course, as in all other Bible courses, is to explore the truths of the Christian faith and to see the application of those truths to the questions and problems that the students will face throughout their lives.

French I or Spanish I

The foreign language courses offered at Calvary Day School are designed to enable mastery of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in either Spanish or French. In introductory level courses, students begin building a foundation of real-world vocabulary and phrases for use in spoken and written discourse. The Foreign Language Department enmeshes cultural lessons with grammatical ones. Language skills are taught through dialogue between teachers and students as well as through a deliberate storytelling method that simulates the way we learn our native language. Students are instructed in the histories and cultures of the countries within their language’s regions. At Calvary Day School, learning is never limited to the pages of a textbook, and this truth extends to Spanish and French classes. Students participate in authentic dinners with regional foods, listen to popular musicians, explore current newspapers, and watch films that are pertinent to the language and its cultures. The linguistic and foreign cultural knowledge offered in French and Spanish classes at Calvary Day School only improves students’ perspectives of themselves as global citizens.

Technology (semester course)

Technology is a semester course that teaches students Microsoft Office 2010, mainly Word and Excel. Within Microsoft Word, students learn how to create a flyer with pictures and borders, create a research paper using the different citation styles with resources inserted into the document, create a letterhead and business letter, and create a proposal with tables and watermarks. Within Microsoft Excel, students learn how to format data and create charts, as well as how to create formulas and built-in functions.


Physical Education (semester elective)

Physical Education (P.E.) for grades 9-12 is designed to develop each student into a well-adjusted individual who will be able to live a satisfying and active life. Through participation in physical activities with their peers, students learn to lead as well as to function as a team member. As students contribute to each physical activity, positive self-expression and self-confidence emerge. Coursework informs students of the dangers associated with neglecting fitness and encourages them to strive for physical excellence at levels appropriate to their abilities. By working together to achieve physical goals, students improve their social bonds, emotional health, intellect, and spirit, and have fun while doing so. P.E. teaches students tolerance of individual personalities through teamwork, and students gain self-esteem and an appreciation for an active lifestyle through the accomplishment of individual goals.

Weight Training (semester elective)

Weight Training focuses on developing strength, power, flexibility, work ethic, integrity, and overall fitness. Students design their own individualized workouts based on the results of their fitness and strength testing. The program includes use of free weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, and plyometric and cardiovascular training.

Calvary Singers (year or semester elective)

The Calvary Singers elective course builds upon foundational music skills previously acquired through the Middle School Song and Stage program. Students further develop proper vocal techniques in order to become a group of blended musicians who perform on a competitive level. Singing is done alone or with others, and the course includes a varied repertoire of music. Our choral literature offers traditional choral pieces, spirituals, lullabies, folk, jazz, pop, and gospel songs, as well as various period pieces from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and twentieth-century periods. In addition to learning to read and notate music, students develop criteria for making informed, critical evaluations of performances. Solo or ensemble opportunities include performing at the weekly chapel, clubs, nursing homes, sporting events, and other special events at school. Students may also participate in the Southeastern Choral Arts Festival, the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Festivals, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Literary Meet, as well as the Fall Variety Show, the Christmas Concert, and the Spring Musical held on campus. Students in Calvary Singers work effectively as responsible team members, which enables them to become positive leaders in the group and in life.

Band (year elective)

The band courses at Calvary Day School aim to enrich students’ lives through the study of music, instrumental performance, music history, theory, and culture. Students learn to respond appropriately to conducting techniques, to participate effectively as a member of performing ensembles, to read and sight-read music, and to evaluate and critique music performed by the ensembles. The band courses also provide students with necessary music vocabulary and instruction about composers of selected musical repertoire. In addition to learning how to perform a piece, students also learn the historical and cultural context.

Famous Artists (semester elective)

Each week, a famous artist will be the focal point. Students will create artwork that demonstrates this artist’s particular style. We will study such artists as Mary Cassatt, Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh.

Elements & Principles of Design (semester elective)

Students in Elements & Principles of Design will learn about the elements and principles of design that artists use as their “tools” to create successful pieces of art.  With each one discussed, we will create pieces of art that demonstrate how the elements and principles are used.

Fibers/Paper/Ceramics (semester elective)

This course takes a look into some of the “other” art forms that use various media such as cloth, paper, and clay. We will learn the art of making paper and the many ways to use paper to create art.  We will also learn some of the techniques of book making.  The art of weaving, using various fibers and other media, will also be experienced.  We will also learn various techniques used in working with clay, like coil and slab building.  

Community Art (semester elective)

This course focuses on many aspects of community art, also known as “Dialogical art” or “Community-based art.” Students will brainstorm ideas for projects that we can do around our school community to help beautify our school, such as murals or other art beautification projects.  We will also work with various groups around Savannah to coordinate community projects such as the children’s unit at Memorial.  We will also work with various nursing home facilities to find ways to cheer up and beautify the lives of their residents.  Our goal in this class is to make our community a better place for everyone.

Drama (year or semester elective)

Drama explores various aspects of theatre, from the artistic to the technical, with primary emphasis on acting. Activities include improvisation, monologue and dialogue scene work, silent stories (pantomime), script and character analysis, artistic design (including sets, lighting, props, and costuming), among others. During the year, there are performance events in which students participate. Even for those who do not envision themselves on stage, this course yields benefits in terms of public speaking, confidence for class presentations, and later on in the workplace. And let’s face it… it’s some of the most fun that students could be allowed to have between 8:30 and 3:00!

Written Communication (Yearbook) (year elective)

Students in Written Communication produce Calvary’s award-winning yearbook, Beacon. Acceptance into the course is competitive, and students must apply during the previous spring to be accepted. To apply for enrollment in the course, students must fill out an application, submit a full yearbook page layout, go through an interview process, and receive a teacher recommendation. Only 12-15 students are accepted into this course each year. Students who are chosen to be in the course produce a very high-quality yearbook, as is evidenced by the honors the yearbook receives. Beacon Awards